Jan 27 2022: Today on Ask A Master Gardener

What are your favourite winter species? I love looking out my front window at the lovely white birch that someone kindly planted in my front yard years ago. Soon these trees will have more friends. I can’t wait to see what happens when the native trees, shrubs and plants that were planted this summer start to grow.

 Today on Ask A Master Gardener at 1:00 pm Nancy will be sharing some of her favourite species with winter interest.

As always, while we have a theme for today, we’re happy to answer any gardening questions.

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In the news….

Researcher Tatenda Mambo is managing the University of Calgary’s Simon Farm project. (Riley Brandt, University of Calgary)

Meet Tatenda Mambo. He is a farmer and researcher who wrote this incredible article about the fragility of mainstream agriculture. It makes our work fighting for locally adapted seeds in the Kingston Area even more urgent!

Efficient or resilient: Alberta must find the right balance to protect our food supply

“Last summer, a brutal heat dome knocked out crops across the prairies. But on our experimental farm just south of Calgary, it also gave a measure of hope.

At the University of Calgary’s Simon Farm Project near Blackie, Alta., we’re testing whether the traits found in locally-saved and traditional seed varieties can bring more resilience to our food production in the face of climate change.

It’s part of a larger research effort to help Alberta’s farmers shift their practices and weather the increased drought we know is coming.

The heat showed a difference between the various seed varieties we were testing, and it was staggering.

Most potatoes, kale and other plants from the seed of national distributors succumbed to the heat and withered away. The same plants from the locally-saved seed held on.  (bo

This seed was from farmers in the region who had been planting and gathering it for at least 10 years, letting it acclimatize to our conditions. At the end of the day, despite four weeks of no significant rain and  27 C heat, we still got a modest harvest from the locally-acclimatized seed. (bold font is ours btw)

Of course, this is just one extreme summer and the work is ongoing, but the resilience of local seeds has been documented by other researchers. Traditional or Indigenous agricultural practices around the world have shown we can work with nature to produce our food in a manner that can restore and support ecological functions rather than degrade and erode them. And if we go back to incorporate these techniques, we can create a system that is more resilient.

Read the rest of the article here Please share it widely!

Today on Ask a Master Gardener Virtual Gathering

Image: Adam Mulas

January 19, 2022: As gardeners, we can help mitigate climate change. Find out how today, at 1:00 pm when Astrid talks about Regenerative gardening practices.

As always, while we have a theme for today, we’re happy to answer any gardening questions.

Join our zoom session:

Read the blog post here

On Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, the Kenhté:ke Seed Sanctuary preserves not just plants, but culture and language, too

A photo of the map of the sacred cosmology that dictates the yearly schedule of the Kenhté:ke Seed Sanctuary.

In caring for a 40-year-old collection of 300 seed varieties, the non-profit Ratinenhayén:thos aims to strengthen local food security and revitalize Indigenous connections to the land

The Kenhté:ke Seed Sanctuary is in the heart of Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, just west of Kingston, Ont. It is home to a 40-year-old living collection of almost 300 seed varieties, including rare heirloom crops like blue Cayuga flint corn and ancient ones like Jacob’s cattle bean, a red and white legume dating back to the 1700s.

Since 2019, the collection has been cared for by Ratinenhayén:thos, an Mohawk-led non-profit whose name means “they are farmers of seeds” in Kanyen’kéha, chosen because it denotes a strong spiritual and cultural connection that grounds the organization’s work in community and place.

Here is the link to the rest of a beautiful article in the Narwhal about our sister organization, Ratinenhayén:thos.

Today on Ask a Master Gardener Virtual Gathering

January 12, 2022: We’re back with Season 3 of Ask a Master Gardener, celebrating 2022’s Year of the [Ecological] Garden. As always, while we have a theme for today, we’re happy to answer any gardening questions.

Today, at 1:00 pm, Cathy will talk about Seed Catalogues: Past, Present, Future.

Join our zoom session:

Remember the days before the Internet when we anxiously waited for our seed catalogues to arrive so that we could start dreaming and planning for spring and summer plantings. Imagine how welcome those catalogues would have been for early growers who were isolated in their cabins or farms waiting for winter to end.  

Believe it or not the earliest garden catalogue appeared over 400 years ago at the 1612 Frankfurt Fair.  It was a bulb catalog called Florilegium Amplissimum et Selectissimum, created by Emmanual Sweerts in the Netherlands.

During the 18th and 19th century new printing methods, improved travel and mail service helped seed growers find new homes for their seeds.  Those gorgeous creations provided information and entertainment that fueled the dream.  

Join us this to learn more about the fascinating history of seed catalogues and to talk about their future.   

You can learn more about this presentation here. Thanks Anna for writing such a great blog post!

A Fundraiser for our sister organization Ratinenhayén:thos and the Kenhte:ke Seed Sanctuary and Learning Centre in the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.


In the spirit of gift-giving, Melt Studio + Gallery will be hosting a raffle for Susan Wallis’ encaustic painting “FOREST WATCHER”, with all the proceeds being donated to Kenhte:ke Seed Sanctuary and Learning Centre in Tyendinaga.

Ratinenhayén:thos is a non-profit organization dedicated to the sustenance and growth of the Kenhte:ke Seed Sanctuary and Learning Centre (KSSLC) in the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

The KSSLC is dedicated to growing heirloom and Indigenous seeds, including those specific to the Rotinonshyon:ni, and ensuring the availability of healthy, local seeds for the next seven generations.“

In this painting I challenge the viewer to join in the scene, to take a seat by the bonfire under the night’s sky. To watch and protect the forest. To celebrate it’s glory and recognize and understand it’s vunerabilites. Only then will the forest survive.” –

Susan Wallis12”x12”, Encaustic. Framed in Solid Walnut.

Retail Value $485

Tickets $10 each or 3 for $25 Buy Tickets in person at the gallery or online at https://www.meltstudiogallery.com.

Please support this worthy cause!

Looking for locally-adapted, open-pollinated seeds for your long weekend planting?

Kingston Area Seed System Initiative (KASSI) will have two locations this Saturday, May 22, where you can pick up seeds suitable for growing food, and for seed saving at maturity.

The seeds will be available on a first come, first served basis. The pickup locations and times are:

  •  Sunnyside Community Garden, 250 MacDonnell Street, Kingston – 11 am – 2 pm, Saturday May 22
  • Lakeside Community Garden, Front Road at Days Road, near Centre 70 arena  – 2 pm – 5 pm, Saturday May 22

You can view the available seeds and make a sliding scale donation on the KASSI site: https://seedsgrowfood.org/meet-the-seeds/

We will leave tins of the remaining seeds on site at each community garden following these pick-up times.

Spring is in the Air – Start Your Seeds Today


Presenters: Cathy Christie (Kingston Area Seed System) and Tracey Filson (Rideau Thousand Island Master Gardeners)

Date: March 24, 2021 at 7 – 8 pm

Welcome to the 2021 Workshops Series for a Sustainable World, hosted by No.9 Gardens. Your registration directly supports our programs and helps us fulfill our mission of empowering youth and the general public to lead a revolution in building sustainable communities. No.9 Gardens is focused on educating people about the importance of a strong, local, resilient food system. We work with volunteers to grow fresh nutritious produce for those most in need.

About the Workshop:  Spring is in the air! Start planning your food garden to include locally sourced, open-pollinated seeds. In this workshop you will learn how easy it is to plan your food garden to include seed saving. We want you to feel more comfortable growing local, healthy food and seeds in the space that you have. Bring your dreams and your questions and we will work together to help you decide what you want to plant, how much you want to plant, where to source your seeds and how to start seedlings in a safe and supportive environment.

Location: This workshop will be delivered on Zoom. Upon registration, a link will be sent to you on the day of the workshop.

About Educators:  This workshop is being delivered by the Rideau Thousand Island Master Gardeners and the Kingston Area Seed System Initiative (KASSI).

Cathy Christie is a mother, science educator, biologist, gardener, seed saver, tree hugger and rewilder. Cathy completed her PhD in freshwater biology and BEd at Queen’s University. She has been teaching at the Faculty of Education at Queen’s for 25 years in addition to teaching at the high school level. Cathy is the Chair of the Kingston Area Seed System Initiative (KASSI) and a Master Gardener in Training. She wants everyone to build reciprocal and respectful relationships with the land and all of the beings who live with us. She is passionate about helping people learn how to grow and save local open-pollinated seeds.

Cathy will be joined by fellow Master Gardener in training, Tracey Filson. With a degree in economics from Queen’s University and a professional background in business analysis and management consulting, Tracey has always been happiest when playing in the mud. Tracey developed a love of nature from an early age, but it wasn’t until she and her husband bought an old century farmhouse northwest of Kingston that her passion for sustainable organic gardening grew. Decades later, Tracey’s zeal for organic gardening continues. She completed her Master Gardener courses in December 2020 and is pursuing a diploma in landscape design through the University of Guelph. Tracey brings a passion for learning and sharing her knowledge with others. When Tracey is not on her paddleboard with her dog, Floyd, she can be found up to her elbows in her garden.

Register here

More about No.9 Gardens:  No.9 Gardens is a 40-acre charitable educational facility, located north of Kingston. No.9 Gardens is situated on many traditional territories including Haudenosaunee (Ho-den-o-show-nee), Anishinaabe (Ah-nish-in-ah-bay), Mississauga, Algonquin, and the Wendake-Nionwentsïo nations. We are grateful to be able to offer the public these lands to live, learn, and play on.

No.9 Gardens was created to educate youth to empower and lead a revolution in building resilient communities. We act as a hands-on teaching facility and lab for the research and implementation of innovative projects and practices. We focus on low carbon communities, sustainable lifestyles, resilient local food systems and reconciliation. I urge you to check out No.9’s website for more information and updates:

Website: no9.ca/no-9-gardens/